Typically I don’t like to discuss politics or religion because I really dislike heated discussions but recently my eldest daughter, Alexandra, brought a podcast by Estee Lalonde to my attention. As I listened, I was initially a little a little bothered by a conversation with Nina Donovan, author of the poem ‘Nasty Woman’ read by Ashley Judd at the Woman’s March, who suggested that we cannot be apathetic in difficult times. With the current political climate in North America and the #metoo movement, I know I can no longer be silent. I am the mother of two independent, strong young women and I cannot let them see me step aside from anything that might be upsetting, especially as I am privileged to belong to a large multi-cultural family and feel so strongly about equality and acceptance for everyone. I kept thinking, ‘What can I do?’ and I don’t know why I didn't immediately connect the fact that art has been a catalyst of change for so long, and in this way, the best way I know how to use my voice, I hope to empower other women to show up and be brave in their lives. My youngest daughter, Katherine, previously suggested that I paint famous women who had influenced our lives as a year-long 52 WEEKS::Heroes project and so as part of The 100 Day Project I decided to step up and paint 100 women I am personally connected to in some way for 100 days on 8x10 gallery canvas to applaud and honour the nasty women in my life. I began with a self portrait followed by images of the beautiful women in my life who have stepped up to support this project. The first painting was posted on January 21 and each day following that for 100 days. To read more about the project, please visit Galleries West Magazine.
(Click on images below to enlarge)
NASTY WOMAN written by Nina Donovan (as read by Ashley Judd)
“I am a nasty woman.
I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust. A man whose words are a distract to America; Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech contaminating this national anthem.
I am not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is gonna rise again; maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves just for being Black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.
I am not as nasty as a Swastika painted on a pride flag. And I didn’t know devils could be resurrected, but I feel Hitler in these streets—a moustache traded for a toupee; Nazis renamed the cabinet; electro-conversion therapy the new gas chambers, shaming the gay out of America turning rainbows into suicide notes.
I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege.
I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokémon before their bodies have even developed. I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favourite sex symbol—like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.
But yah, I am a nasty woman?!
A loud vulgar, proud woman.
I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth.
I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth.
I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson: Why were the famous actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year? See, even when we do go into higher paying jobs our wages are still cut with blades, sharpened by testosterone. Why is the work of a Black woman and a Hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter?
This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality.
So we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty. I am nasty like the blood stains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me, if we could, some of us would. We don’t like throwing away our favourite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are tampons and pads still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the blood stain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?
I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country.
I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I wanna unzip your jeans.
I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.
And our pussies ain’t for grabbin’. Therefore, reminding you that our balls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sheikh—you name it—for new generations of nasty women. So if you are a nasty woman or love one who is, let me hear you say, hell yeah!”